A note to instructors (Ames High School, Iowa State University) who have a community service component in their classes:

First, THANK YOU!!  We believe that exposure to a wide variety of experiences is the hallmark of a liberal arts education, and besides that, the students typically really enjoy it!

We do have a few requests, in order to make the experience a positive one for everyone…

(1) We are blessed with a number of students from a variety of classes – but the school calendar is the same for everyone, and young people being, well, YOUNG, they tend to put things off ‘til the last minute.  That leaves them scrambling for positions, when they’ve already been filled, then begging us to let them come in anyway.  Ever seen 20 people preparing a meal?!  It’s not pretty.  So please, please, PLEASE encourage them to schedule their time right away at the beginning of the semester – we can schedule 2 or 3 months out, and since our schedule is online, they can always check to confirm their committed time.  We’ve toyed with the idea of asking instructors to have a cut-off date, where the slots must be scheduled by that time (I believe that some are doing this) – but for now, we’ll just ask for your help!

(2) We have a number of students who contact us via email and say “how can I sign up to help”?  We’re filling close to 100 volunteer slots each week, so you can imagine how insane it would be if each person emailed us to ask if they could help.  If you would please direct your students to www.FoodAtFirst.com (simply click on the Volunteer link right at the top of the page), they’ll be able to see ALL open slots for at least the next few weeks.  If you see anything that we could do to make our website more intuitive, by all means, let us know!!

(3) Most instructors require that their students ascertain a signature indicating that they have fulfilled their commitment.  That makes total sense – but some of them tell us that they must get the signature of “the Director of the program”.  We would request that you allow the Head Chef for that meal (always clearly identifiable, since they’re the one giving instructions) to sign the sheet, and to encourage the students to bring it with them when they volunteer. If you would like for us to have a supply of your forms on-hand, in case the student forgets theirs, we’re happy to do so – we have a “Hot Pink Notebook” where we keep all of our paperwork right there in the kitchen, so the student could just request the form from the Head Chef.  (This would be “for emergencies only”, as we don’t want to be responsible for managing all forms for all classes.  But it’s easier for us to keep a supply on hand than to try to arrange to meet a student at a later date just to get the signature.)  We’ve toyed with the idea of creating a generic form ourselves, which we would give to anyone who didn’t have theirs – if you have any input on this, or ANY of the above, please feel free to email Patty Yoder (patty@foodatfirst.com), or Chris Martin (chris@foodatfirst.com) any time!

Thanks again for helping us to help those in need, while providing meaningful experiences for your students!!

Chris Martin, Director
Patty Yoder, Executive Director/Coordinator

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